University of Pittsburgh, Heinz Chapel Choir
Dominated both in
spirit and in fact, by its magnificent castle, yet the town itself is very
attractive with Georgian and Victorian buildings, church street being one of its
prettiest areas. The parish Church of St John stands in the High Street
with railings designed by Grindling Gibbons. Nearby is the Guildhall
designed at the end of the 17th Century by Sir Thomas Fitch and finished by Sir
Christopher Wren. However it is the castle that made the town and still
attracts thousands and thousands of visitors every year.
Windsor Castle The castle is the largest inhabited castle in the world and covers over 13 acres. Its story starts with William the Conqueror who quickly grasped its strategic position and the advantage of a forest for hunting close by. Since then practically every sovereign has had a hand in the building, Henry II put up the first stone buildings including the round tower, but the defences are still those built by Henry III. Edward III was born at Windsor and loved it, he enlarged the royal apartments and founded the order of the Knights of the Garter, making Windsor a centre for chivalry. The castle is made up of three parts, the lower ward, which includes St George's chapel, the upper ward in which lie the state apartments and the middle ward where the enormous round tower gives wonderful views over 12 counties.
St. George's Chapel, Windsor
A sumptuous and impressive
building which yet gives an effect of light and spaciousness. The
perpendicular chapel was begun by Edward IV in 1475 and completed in the reigns
of Henry VII and VIII. Many sovereigns and famous men and women lie buried
here, including Charles I, Henry VIII, Jane Seymour and the present Queens
Mother and father. Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert were also
buried at Windsor but in the royal mausoleum at Frogmore in Home Park near the
Cambridge is one of the
most important and beautiful towns not only in East Anglia, but also in Britain
and even Europe. The quality of its buildings in particular those
belonging to the University and the particular atmosphere caused by the
felicitous combination of river and gardens have given the city a place in the
itinerary of every visitor to this country. The history of Cambridge began
many hundreds of years before the first college was founded, a Celtic settlement
had arise on Castle Hill 100 years prior to the Roman conquest. At the
foot of the hill was a ford across the River Cam. It is thought the Romans
built a bridge here. The site of Cambridge became of great strategic and
commercial importance. With the departure of the Romans the town continued
to spread to its present position on the East Anglian side of the river.
The coming of the Normans only increased expansion they even rebuilt the Castle.
Then in the 13th Century saw the founding of the first Cambridge College,
Peterhouse College, established in 1281 by the Bishop of Ely and moving to its
own hostels in 1284. So was established the first College and the
consequent increase in the importance of the city as a seat of learning and a
centre of communal life.
Kings College, Cambridge
One of the most
outstanding buildings in Britain and the finest Gothic building in Europe.
It was begun in 1446. its unusual dimensions, 300ft long, 80ft high and 40ft
wide, prepare the visitor for its extraordinary system of spatial relationships.
The effect of the interior is breathtaking. the shafts on either side of the
chapel lead the eye up into the roof where the profusion of delicate fan
vaulting appears to be made of lace rather than stone. The organ case
(1606), screen and choir stalls (1536) stained glass windows (1515 incidentally
the year the chapel was completed) act as a perfect foil to the magnificent
roof. Does this give meaning to look upwards to heaven for the splendours
that are above.
Trinity College Chapel
The Building, which is 205ft long, was begun in 1554 by Queen Mary (who was
Roman Catholic) the daughter of Henry VIII by his first wife Catherine of
Aragon. It was completed in 1567 by her Protestant half sister Queen
Elizabeth, who was the daughter of Anne Boyleyn.
London the Capital City of England & the United Kingdom Within a few years of invading Britain in 43AD the Romans had built forts and towns across the land. They linked these outposts with a number of well constructed roads, some of which had to cross a wide tidal river (Thames). The Roman engineers eventually picked a crossing point from generally marshy ground on the South bank (with islands of firm ground) to an area on the North Bank situated on two low hills, these hills formed the highest and driest site on the tidal river. At this point the Romans built their bridge and before long a settlement grew up on the hills and then a City took shape, the Romans called it Londinium. The landscape that greeted the Romans now lies deep beneath the modern city, upto 8 metres deep, the reason, every new building over the past 2,000 years was built on top of the rubble of the old.
Opened in January 2000 as a part of the Millennium celebrations it is 135mtrs
high and is the worlds highest observation wheel. The fourth tallest
structure in London. It is 35mtrs taller than Big Ben, 30 mtrs taller than St
Pauls, three times as high as Tower Bridge and a third taller than the Statue of
Liberty. The 360` rotation will take approx 30/35 minutes. The wheel
has 32 fully enclosed capsules holding up to 25 people each. From its highest
point passengers can see 25 miles in each direction on a clear day.
Horse Guards Parade The former tiltyard or jousting field of Whitehall Palace, used for the ceremony of Trooping the Colour each June to celebrate the Queens official birthday. The Horse Guards building by which one enters the parade ground from the direction of Whitehall was reconstructed in 1750 prior to which it was the gatehouse of the Palace of Westminster. The horse mounted guards who stand duty under two archways either side of the clock tower stand guard for just one hour at a time not all day. The soldiers belong either to the Life Guards (red tunics & white plumes) who formed the bodyguard for Charles I or the Royal Horse Guards (blue with red plumes) who grew out of a regiment formed by Cromwell. Both regiments now belong to the Household Cavalry which provides the Queens Bodyguard on all state occasions.
Houses of Parliament
The present building
occupies the site of the old Royal Palace. The oldest surviving part of
this palace is Westminster Hall (some of the walls dating back to 1097/99).
In 1840 Sir Charles Barry with the help of his eccentric assistant, Pugin began
building the neo Gothic new house which still graces Parliament Square.
Although it was badly bombed in 1941 the Commons Chamber was completely
destroyed, the new one was opened in 1950. As you look at the palace from
the square the commons are on the left and the lords on the right.
Standing a little to the left of the building is Westminster Hall. This
ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft wide and 92ft high, it was built in 1097 by
William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399. It was here that Charles
I was condemned to death in 1649, Edward II abdicated in 1327, Oliver Cromwell
was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators sentenced to death.
It was the centre of London life, a very public place in which to have sentence
passed. it remains lofty, beautiful, impressive and empty, the oldest part of
the palace and the most lovely.
One of the longest
rivers in England at 215 miles in length, it flows from its source near
Cheltenham to the sea through some of the most beautiful countryside before
becoming the main artery that the wealth of Britain has been bourn. No
river can have influenced a nations destiny more, from Roman times to the
This ancient hall is 290ft long, 68ft long and 92ft high. It was built in
1097 by William II and modernised by Richard II in 1399. It was here that
Charles I was condemned to death in 1649. Edward II abdicated in 1327.
Oliver Cromwell was installed as protector and the Guy Fawkes conspirators
sentenced to death. It was the centre of London life, a very public place
in which to have sentence passed. It remains lofty, beautiful, impressive
and empty, the oldest part of the palace and the most lovely.
Cabinet War Rooms
In 1940 as the bombs rained
down on London, Winston Churchill, his Cabinet, his Chiefs of Staff and
intelligence chiefs were meeting below ground in a fortified basement in
Whitehall, later to be known as the Cabinet War Rooms. They offered
shelter in which to work, sleep and live for as long as necessary. When
the war ended the lights were switched off and the rooms left silent and
untouched for many years. The rooms were in operational use from 27th
August 1939 to the Japanese surrender in 1945 the war cabinet held more than 100
meetings in these somewhat cramped rooms. Without doubt some of the most
important decisions of the Second World War were taken here.
Until the 18th Century the
original site was occupied by Buckingham House which was bought by George III in
1762. When George IV acceded the throne in 1820 he commissioned John Nash
to build a palace fit for a King on the same site. Much of the original
structure and decoration survives to this day.
Banqueting House Completed in 1622 and designed by Indigo Jones, it was the first building in London to embody the classical Palladium style together with the use of Portland stone in the construction. Built originally as a part of Whitehall Palace it was the only building to escape the great fire which destroyed the Palace in 1698. The main hall is 115ft long and 60ft wide but it is the ceiling which catches the eye. Painted by Rubens for Charles 1st in 1629-34 it depicts the Apotheoses of the Stuart Dynasty in nine panels, which should be viewed from the far end of the room. In 1649 Charles 1st stepped out of one of the windows of the hall on his way to the scaffold erected outside in the yard, to his execution. Ironically Charles II celebrated his restoration to the throne here 20 years later. Still used for state banquets and official functions by the Government and the Queen.
10 Downing Street
Has been the official
residence of the Prime Minister since Sir Robert Walpole, the first Prime
Minister lived here in 1732. The street was named after its builder, Sir
George Downing. The iron gates were erected for security reasons in 1989.
St. Paul's Cathedral, London
The original Cathedral was
built on Ludgate Hill by the Anglo Saxons in 604A.D. built of wood it burnt down
and was rebuilt on a number of occasions. The present Cathedral was
started by Sir Christopher Wren in 1675 and it took 35 years to build. The
Cathedral was damaged during the Second World War with bombs falling through the
roof and destroying the alter and one damaging the North transept. A
famous picture taken at the time shows the cathedral surrounded by fire and
smoke and through the gloom appearing unscathed the dome of St Pauls rising
dominantly and defiantly from the inferno below, a source of inspiration to the
whole country in its hour of need. In the crypt lie buried, Wren, Nelson,
many other famous British people. The peel of 12 bells is outstanding and
the choir of 38 boys and 18 men maintain a very proud tradition.
Legend has it that the
first Church built on Thorney Island in the Thames was built by King Segbert in
the 7th Century, there is also mention of a Charter from King Offa of
Mercia to the people of Westminster granting land. We also have a Charter from
King Edgar in the 10th Century for the restoring of the Benedictine
Abbey. It is also written that a substantial foundation existed in Westminster
when King Edward the Confessor became King in 1042. We do know that Edward
started to build a Church here close to the previous building and it was
consecrated on 28th December 1065. Eight days later Edward died and
he was buried in front of the high altar.
Tower of London Built by William the Conqueror because he did not trust his new people. Over the years it has been a garrison, armoury, prison, royal mint and royal palace. Among well known heads that have rolled or languished in the tower were Kings of Scotland, France and England. Lady Jane Grey, Duke of Monmouth, Queen Elizabeth for six months, Sir Walter Raleigh and many more. There is even a gate directly off the river called traitors gate.
Hiddern away beneath the
modern arches and bridges of busy London. This jewel is known as “Londons
hidden glory” Londons oldest Cathedral. The doomsday book records that in
Anglo Saxon times a Monasterium was situated on this site, some recent
excavations have unearthed some Roman remains but the origins of the church
unfortunately are lost in the mists of time. The church was rebuilt in
1106 and was closely linked to the Bishops of Winchester. The present
choir was constructed in the 13th Century, the tower in the 14th and the altar
screen in the 16th Century. It finally became a Cathedral in 1905 to serve
what was a growing population on the South bank.
Oxford This great university town is, for its history and associations and for its architecture, one of the most rewarding in all England. In spite of recent industrialisation, its beauty and dignity have emerged relatively unscathed. The university is the second oldest in Europe, acknowledging only the Sorbonne in Paris as its senior. In fact evidence of organised teaching can be traced to the 12th Century. A Chancellor was appointed in 1214 and the collegiate system began in the latter part of the 13th Century with the establishment in Oxford of various religious orders.
Quite unique, a
Cathedral serving the Diocese of Oxford and a College Chapel serving Christ
Church College. It was made a Cathedral by King Henry VIII in 1545 after
cardinal Wolsey had made it a Chapel of the College in 1525. The building
however dates back to the 12th Century when it was a priory of Augustianain
Cannons. The first recorded church on the site was in the 8th Century.
The spire incidentally, constructed during the 13th Century was the first in
England the lovely Gothic chancel added in the year 1500. A superb
collection of stained glass windows still exists dating back the 14th Century
with the oldest being the magnificent Becket window in the South transept (a
rare example of 14th Century glass in situ).
Developed from the
Anglo Saxon words Cot and Wold, Cot meaning sheep pen. Wold meaning high windy
ground, that certainly can describe the area well, especially in the winter.
The soil is poor on the Wolds and not a lot of it but a great area for rearing
sheep. Hence the numerous villages with lovely churches (known as wool
churches) built by wealthy landowners centuries ago. The area is also
famous for the Cotswold stone a soft stone which yellows with age. Many
cottages will be seen built of Cotswold stone.
Cheltenham Set on a sheltered ridge between the high Cotswolds and the Severn Vale the town enjoys a pleasant and equable climate. Cheltenham is one of the finest Spa towns in Europe, with a wealth of regency houses bordering elegant squares, crescents, terraces and open spaces. George III an inveterate frequenter of spas, visited the town in 1738 and set his seal of approval by staying at Bayshill lodge. Lansdown Place and Montpellier Parade, among similar thoroughfares and the Rotunda, the design for its dome being based on the Pantheon in Rome. Montpellier walk with its shops separated by Caryatids must be one of the most unusual shopping precincts in the world. Out on the Bath Road are two of Cheltenham`s famous schools, Cheltenham College for boys was originally built between 1841 and 1843. With the nearby Cheltenham Ladies college founded by Miss Beale, the ardent Victorian champion of good education for girls.
Haw Bridge Inn
Built in 1630 as a stop over place for boats, where the old toll bridge crossed
the river Severn. Many a boatman has taken a sip of ale and a Ploughman’s
lunch within these walls, while watching the boats plying their trade on this
once busy stretch of river. Today, just pleasure craft glide slowly by.
But the Inn still retains the ambiance of a bygone age nestling as it does on
the banks of the river. Flagstone floors, oak panelling & oak beamed
ceilings. Collections of horse brasses and Toby jugs adorn both walls and
ceilings. Home cooked food, enjoy this little piece of real England.
Anne Hathaway's Cottege This well preserved example of early domestic architecture with its picturesque thatched roof was the home of William Shakespeare's wife before her marriage. Her family the Hathaways lived here close to the village of Shottery for some years.
Stratford upon Avon
Situated on the West
bank of the River Avon. Many 15th and 16th Century timber framed houses
still exist and in many of its streets the essential character of a thriving
market town still purveys. However it can not be denied that it is justly
famous because on or about 23rd April 1564 William Shakespeare was born here and
a few days later baptised at the Parish Church of Holy Trinity. There is
however evidence of a Bronze age settlement in the area and a Romano British
village. A Monastery was founded in Anglo Saxon days and by the year 1196
the town was granted the right to hold a weekly market.
The town name means
ford by a Roman road. In this case over the River Avon and the Roman road
is the one joining the Roman settlements of Alcester and Tiddington. The
ford was actually at the point where Bridgefoot Crosses the River now.
The name was recorded as Stretford approx 700 years ago.
Shakespeare Birthplace Museum The Cottage was the childhood home of William Shakespeare. The cottage is authentically furnished throughout with both original and replica items from this time period of his life. To the rear is a lovely garden and adjoining is a superb exhibition charting his professional and private life including a first edition of his colleted plays published in 1623.
Bristol Once one of the most important ports in the country, the earliest records of its commercial activity going back to Edward II in the 10th Century when silver coins were minted here. All this due to the fact that the River Severn and Avon was navigable to this point. It was from Bristol in 1497 that John Cabot and his Bristol born son Sebastian set sail with 18 sailors in the 100 ton ship “Matthew” before reaching the mainland of America in Newfoundland. A centre for trade and commerce for over 1,000 years, the city still has much to offer and although the large container ships now dock at the entrance to the Avon Gorge at Avonmouth, much activity still remains around the old dock side area.
Augustinian Abbey founded in 1142 by Robert Fitzharding. In 1542 it became
the Cathedral Church of the newly formed Diocese of Bristol. It still
retains much of its Norman solidarity, particularly the fine Chapter House.
The Church building is known as a “Hall Church” type where high Chancel, aisles
and an Eastern Lady Chapel are of equal height. The Choir is full of
absolutely fine woodwork dating back to the 1500s and the Misericords of great
interest depicting as they do Biblical scenes. The organ was built in 1685
by Renatus Harris and all the pipework is original. Grinling Gibbons
created the superb organ case. Choristers are educated at the adjoining
Cathedral school. One important feature in the Berkeley Chapel: a Medieval
candelabrum (understood to be the only one of its kind in England recorded) has
being given to the Temple Church in Bristol
during 1450 and passed on to its present home during the terrible blitz of World
St. Mary Redcliffe, Bristol
A superb example of Medieval
architecture and once described by Queen Elizabeth Ist on a visit to Bristol as
“the fairest, goodliest and most famous parish church in the kingdom” in all
respects it is the size of a Cathedral with a 240ft Nave and a Spire added in
the 19th Century rising 285ft from street level. The Church owes
much of its construction to William Canynge in the 14th Century and
further work completed by his son.
Here in a lovely
park stands one of Englands greatest houses, home of the Dukes of Devonshire.
The first house was built by Bess of Hardwick starting in 1552. Mary Queen
of Scots was a prisoner at Chatsworth at various times between 1569-1584.
Alterations to the original house began in 1686 by the 1st Duke of Devonshire
(formerly 4th Earl of Cavendish) and continued until just before his death in
1707. The house from the outside is imposing but inside is full of beauty,
elegance and splendour. The rooms are full of paintings antiques & some of
the finest furnishings in the country. Much of the fine carving both in
wood and in stone is the work of Samuel Watson of Heanor. The gardens
outside where loosely designed by Capability Brown during the 1760s but most of
what you see today is the work of Joseph Paxton who was a friend of the 6th Duke
and eventually went on to design the Crystal Palace in London. The waterworks in
the gardens are outstanding, the cascade, fountains canal pond & the magnificent
emperor fountain which can throw a jet of water over 290 feet and is operated
solely by the water pressure of the head of water from the large pond
constructed on the top of the hill. A visit to remember in such a
townscape of this walled city illustrates much of its nearly 2,000 years
history. York possesses in its Minster the largest medieval church in
Northern Europe, the general scale of its building is small and human.
Even today York seems more medieval than almost any other English town.
The compact core is a treasure house for anyone interested in history,
architecture or ancient crafts, and is best seen on foot. The Romans
called the place Eboracum, and built a fort in AD.71. Under the Angles,
York was capital of their Kingdom of Deira. King Edwin was baptised here
by Paulinus, who became the first Archbishop of York in 634. The Danes
captured and burnt York in 867 and it was their capital in England for nearly
100 years, they called it Jorvik and it is from this that the present name
derives. There is nothing left to see of Anglo Saxon and Danish York, but
the use of the word gate for street is a reminder that the Danes did settle
here. The Norman's found a thriving little trading centre and burnt it in
1069 during their frightful ravaging of the North, and then rebuilt the walls,
expanding them to take the present 263 acres. Medieval York is everywhere,
not least in the web of narrow streets. The Shambles and Stonegate are two
of the best preserved examples. Too the East of the Minster is the half
timbered St William's College. Three of the nine Guildhalls still survive.
All the city walls are medieval rebuilt on the Roman and Norman foundations in
the 13th Century. A 2.5 mile footpath on the walls gives a circular tour
of the city. In the middle ages, York was England's second city a great
religious and commercial centre. A lovely city with much to see and enjoy.
The Minster is York's chief
glory, appropriate to the dignity of an Archbishopric, built between 1220 and
1470, it contains England's greatest concentration of medieval stained glass,
principally from the 13th and 14th Centuries. The two most famous windows
being the five sisters and the magnificent 15th Century east window, the largest
in the world. The Ministers length is 518ft and is 241ft wide at the
transept. The central tower rises 198ft and is the largest lantern tower
in Britain. The 14th Century Chapter House with seven lovely window walls
has no central support for its conical roof, just the great buttresses on the
eight sides. The Choir was completed by 1400 and its great climax the east
window with 2,000 sq ft of ancient glass by John Thornton of Coventry was
finished in 1408, the massive towers came last.
It is not only the lover of
architecture who will be thrilled by Durham. It is one of the most
visually exciting cities in Britain. The magnificent Norman Cathedral and
the Castle stand proudly on a sandstone hill almost enclosed by a steep banked
wooded bend of the River Wear. It is a scene well worth looking at from
every vantage point. The best views are obtained from the railway station,
Prebends Bridge, South Street, Silesgate and also Palace Green. The Castle
was built in 1069 by the Norman invaders and the town grew up under the Castle
walls between the two river crossings at Elvet and Framwellgate. Durham is
not a large city but is a centre of local government and education (Durham
University was created as the third university in England by an act of
Parliament in 1832)
The Cathedral was
founded as a shrine for the body of St Cuthbert. When Viking raids forced
on Lindisfarne to flee in
875. They carried with them the body of the saint, they reached Durham in
995 after time at Chester le Street and Ripon. In Durham the coffin seemed
to become rooted to the ground and the spot for the new shrine was revealed in a
vision. By 998 they had built a church (nothing remains of this early
building) it quickly became a place of pilgrimage. The Bishops became
Prince Bishops of Durham giving the city the right to raise armies, own
nobility, coinage and courts. All these privileges were ended in 1836.
The present Cathedral Church of Christ and blessed Mary the Virgin was built
between 1093 and 1133 to a plan of Bishop William of Calais. He died but
the work continued under Bishop Flambard. It is possibly the finest Norman
building in Europe. St Cuthberts body was brought to his shrine behind the
high altar in 1104. The Cathedral was the first in Northern Europe to be
covered with stone ribbed vaulting and it has the earliest pointed transverse
arches in England. There are few monuments because of a long held rule
that no one should be buried in the shrine of st cuthbert. From the South
side aisle a door leads to the monks dormitory, a great timbered hall 194ft by
39ft where some of
the Cathedrals prized possessions can be seen, they include St Cuthberts
illuminated manuscripts. In front of the font is a line of marble, the
nearest point that women were allowed to get to the altar. Almost no
amount of time is to long to spend in this unique place of worship.
The Capital of Scotland, with origins in the Iron Age. Although Edinburgh
did not become the capital until the 12th Century the history of the city is
really moulded around one street, The Royal mile. At the foot lies
Holyrood House, still a royal palace today, where Mary queen of Scots lived and
where Bonnie Prince Charlie had a brief triumph of his celebration ball after
capturing Edinburgh in the 1745 rebellion. At its head the castle towers
on its great rock. Between the two, the royal mile winds its way along the
spine of the rock with its pre 18th century Edinburgh, tall, many storied houses
clinging to the steep hillside. Yet Edinburgh is not just about history,
the new town is just as picturesque with wide streets and crescents. With
princes street flanked by gardens on the south being described by many as one of
Europe's finest thoroughfares. The ladies will find Edinburgh's Shops just
Edinburgh Castle The Oldest part of the castle is St. Margaret's Chapel built early in the 12th Century. Apart from this we know very little about the early buildings on the site. We do know that the castle walls began to take their present form from about 1356. Since then many additions and changes have taken place.
St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh
was the Patron Saint of Cripples, he was a Greek born in Athens in 640AD. The
building was dedicated to St Giles in 1243. There has probably been a
church on this site since 854. The oldest parts of the present building are 4
massive central pillars thought to date back to 1120. The church was burnt down
by the English in 1385. However over the following 150 years it was
enlarged and enhanced. It was from here that John Knox (Scottish reformer)
appointed Minister of Edinburgh in 1559 led the reformation of the Scottish
Church. The tie with Rome was broken and the administration of the Church
of Scotland evolved into Presbyterianism. Although it must be said that
for two periods in the 17th Century the Church was Episcopalian. Mary
Queen of Scots held Parliament in 1563 in the outer tollbooth section.
During that time it was the market place at the centre of the cities activities.
Many tales of torture, execution, bravery and treachery started life within the
walls of this building. Which today echoes a violent past and yet by
careful renewal points a way forward to the future.